10 Unbelievable Vacations for Foodies
Vacations for foodies should ensure that the cuisine of a destination is just as much an attraction as a historical site. Culinary vacations give your holiday time a delicious focus and take you inside the local culture while you’re there. Check out these 10 great dining destinations and cooking schools to go with each
Vacations for Foodies: France
A foodie vacationer is in heaven in France. Rich history, rich culture, and rich food! If you needed a good reason to want to go to Provence, then check out Culinary and Art Adventure in Provence with Chef Philippe Gion. Located in the village of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue in the Luberon, the school teaches students to cook in the Mediterranean style while enjoying the beauty of the Provence countryside. You’ll have 20 hours of intensive lessons, with local wines to get you through it all. The school also owns a bed and breakfast right next door.
Vacations for Foodies: Mexico
A Mexico vacation is a must for any foodie. With a list of dishes that combine colonial influences, as well as native recipes-such as the Mayan pibil-Mexico will impress you with its depth and range. For a pleasant retreat to a homestyle kitchen in the heart of the country, try Mexican Home Cooking School near the colonial capital of Tlaxcala, just east of Mexico City. Your instructor is Chef Doña Estela who shares her grandmother’s recipes which combine indigenous, Spanish and French elements. Spend the morning learning how to prepare your lunch, then head out exploring a bit of colonial Mexico before coming back for drinks and a gourmet dinner. (Photo by Kevin Revolinski)
Foodie Adventures: India
The foodie adventurer will find India is as varied as its people though generally one finds restaurants to reflect either the northern or the southern cuisine. The flavours depend on fresh ingredients, herbs and spices, and is often inclusive of a lot of great dishes for vegetarians. For a good cooking school, head to Kerala near the southern coast. Poopally’s Heritage Homestay is situated on the Pampa River and explores traditional Kerala-style recipes in weeklong courses. Head to the local market and pick up organic produce to prepare both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Seafood is popular and you can expect a lot of fresh spices such as ginger and cinnamon. While you’re there stay in traditional wooden cottages and learn about their efforts to use only natural growing and eco-friendly methods. (Photo by Kevin Revolinski)
Food Lover Adventure: Thailand
Food lovers on vacation in Thailand: prepare yourself for a bit of spice. Thai food is often touched with a bit of chilies, and many foodie travelers brave the heat to eat delicious curries, hot and sour soups, fried noodles and much more. For a truly local experience from an excellent cook, check out Krabi Thai Cookery School. Set in Ao Nang near the Andaman Sea, the school is run by Mrs. Ya, a funny, friendly Thai chef who offers half- and full-day courses that give everyone hands-on practice. Make curry paste from scratch with fresh local-market produce. The best part is eating everything you made that day. (Photo by Kevin Revolinski)
A Gastronome Getaway: New Orleans
A tru gastronome’s ideal getaway is to the Big Easy. Cajun and Creole cuisine make New Orleans a unique dining destination and at The New Orleans School of Cooking local expert chefs share their recipes with you. Set in a 19th-century molasses warehouse, the school also features a general store so you can take home some of the special ingredients and sauces. Jambalaya, gumbo, pralines–you’ll learn all the greatest dishes here and a bit of history and culture as you go. Classes are two to two-and-a-half hours centered around lunch or mid-afternoon and feature three to four menu items. Plenty of sampling to go around and drinks are included while you watch.
Gourmets Gallop to VietnamVietnam: A Gourmet’s Vacation
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Vietnam is a cultural jewel of Southeast Asia and the cuisine won’t disappoint any gourmet on vacation. The long coastline means seafood is prominent, and the colonial history puts a bit of French into the menu. In a region of rice and noodles you still find great bread. A fine choice of cooking school is Hidden Hanoi which offers morning classes with different menus each day so you can go the whole week. Groups are small and the garden setting really lives up to the name. Learn to make the healthy Vietnamese fresh spring rolls, bun cha, a marvelous bowl of pho, or banana flower salad. If you are intimidated by fish sauce, this course will change your heart. They also offer walking tours (a market trip can be combined with the cooking class) and language instruction. (Photo by Kevin Revolinski)
Culinary Sensualism in Spain
Granada is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home of the lovely Alhambra Palace, and the ideal setting for your gourmet vacation kitchen. Casa Azahar offers demonstrations and hands-on courses that can be as short as one hour on a flexible schedule or up to two weeks. This is your opportunity to become an expert on Spanish wines and sherries or round out your tapas repertoire. Get your ingredients from the markets at Plaza Larga and San Augustin or the onsite garden, and stay at boutique accommodations within the honored historic Albaycin. Learn to cook unique Mediterranean, Sephardic, and Mozarabic dishes. But book in advance: the school is only open November through April.
Culinary Connoisseurs Should Visit Peru
Culinary connoisseurs: Next stop is Peru. The South American country has had its influences in the kitchen: the indigenous recipes with native staples potatoes and corn, Japanese and Chinese immigrants with rice and stir-fries, African slaves with their love of beans, and the Spanish who brought wine and wheat to the mix. This is the best place in the world for ceviche, a dish of fresh fish, onions and chilies marinated for hours in lemon juice. Enjoy half- and full-day cooking classes with Pica Peru in Lima. Start in the markets in the capital and then head out to the countryside to get started in the kitchen. Two accomplished Peruvian chefs lead the courses, one of whom teaches at three schools in Lima, while the other has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants around the world. You’ll enjoy a three-course meal and take recipes home with you for dishes such as yuquitas a la huancaina (the classic Peruvian stir fry), lomo saltado (marinated sirloin with chilies and fried potatoes) and tacu tacu (a popular scrambled beans and rice dish). (Photo by Kevin Revolinski)
Bon Vivants Visit Turkey
Bon Vivants visit to Turkey will find culinary delights abound. Istanbul lies at the crossroads of continents and with that terrain comes some pretty fantastic cuisine. Stay in the old part of the city, near the famous historical sites of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia and sign up for a cooklng class at the Sarniç Hotel. You’ll learn right in the hotel’s kitchen and then head to the rooftop terrace for excellent views of Old Istanbul while you dine on what you’ve created. The course is half day, but since the menu changes, you can sign up multiple times. Learn to make spicy lentil soup, eggplant salads, cheese pastries, stuffed figs or grape leaves, yogurt soup, and various meat dishes. You’ll cook a five-course meal and then be able to go to the Egyptian spice market to take some of those ingredients home. (Photo by Kevin Revolinski)
Glutton Goes to Italy
Try a bit of Tasty Tuscany for your next trip to gallop of gluttony. Spend some time on this Tuscan farm staying in the restored farmhouse while owners Pat and Paolo share their family recipes in the kitchen-classroom. In addition to the wonderful eats, they offer art tours and trips to the local markets and the producers themselves. As this is Italy, there is also wine instruction. Fresh bread, fresh pasta, and a bottle of Chianti-you can’t go wrong! (Photo by Kevin Revolinski)